Power BI Desktop Update – May 2019

Power BI has really ensured that they keep improving the product and it is brilliant as there are constantly new improvements being deployed based on user feedback. This allows for very satisfying user experience as you know some of the most pressing issues will be dealt with a quick turnaround. May sees another set of improvements to reporting, analytics, modeling and visualizations.

If we need to choose our one stand out improvement for the month it will be the performance analyzer pane. This allows you to analyze the performance of your Power BI report. You will be able to identify the queries, visuals etc that are taking the most time to load or refresh. This is a great tool to ensure that your Power BI reports stay efficient and effective.

Follow this link for last months Power BI Update.

Here’s the condensed list of the April updates:

Reporting

  • Performance analyzer pane
  • Filter pane improvements (preview)
  • Table and matrix keyboard navigation
  • Line data label position control

Analytics

  • Key influencers visual improvements (preview)
  • Binning support
  • Formatting options
  • Mobile support

Modeling

  • Disable auto-date tables for new reports
  • Update to the ALLSELECTED DAX function

Visualizations

  • ArcGIS maps for Power BI updates
  • Mapbox updates
  • ValQ – Modern Digital Planning
  • Advanced Graph Visual
  • Craydec Control Charts
  • Walkers Animated Pictogram
  • Treemap Bar Chart by MAQ Software

Power BI Reporting Update

Performance analyzer pane

The performance analyzer pane is under the view tab in Power BI desktop.

Once the performance analyzer is open, a blank performance analyzer opens. In order to analyze your Power BI report, you need to select the Start Recording button.

After selecting the recording button, any action that runs a query, such as changing a page, refreshing the visuals, or cross-highlighting, will record information in the performance analyzer pane. The information in the performance analyzer contains the action performed and the load duration.

Each recorded visual log has a + on the left that can be expanded to see more details about the load time. There are three different sections:

  • DAX query – The time it took for Analysis Services to perform the query
  • Visual display – The time that it took for the visual to draw on the screen (this may really include anything such as retrieving web images or geocoding)
  • Other – Covers time that the visual spent preparing queries, waiting for other visuals to complete, or doing some other background processing

You are able to view the query in great detail through two exporting functions. Firstly you are able to export the specific information of a visual log.

Secondly, the entire query log can be exported in a JSON format to explore all the information with regards to the loading time of your visual log. This option may be found in the top right corner of the performance analyzer.

Filter pane improvements

The filter pane has seen a lot of improvements already this year. This month sees another improvement to the functionality of the filter pane improvement. You now have the ability to customize the sort of the filter cards within the pane. The order of the filters in the filter pane can be adjusted, by dragging the filter manually or sorting the filters alphabetically.

The result is a set of filters that are sorted alphabetically.

Table and matrix keyboard navigation

Power BI has released keyboard and screen readers this year and has extended this feature in the May release to support the table and matrix visual. When your focus in Power BI desktop is on a table or matrix you need to press Ctrl and the right arrow key to move focus inside to the first cell of the visual.

You can use the following keyboard shortcuts to navigate:

  • Arrow keys – Move your focus up/down/left/right on the cell
  • Space or Enter – Select cell
  • Shift + Right arrow – Expand an expandable header
  • Shift + Left arrow – Collapse an expandable header
  • Context key or Shift + F10 – Open context menu

Line data label position control

A frustrating feature when working with line charts is that it can become confusing to know which data point belongs to what line on your line or combo chart. This is especially relevant when line charts overlap each other. Power BI has now released the functionality that allows a user to specify if the data labels of your line char are automatically position, above the line or below the line.

In Power BI desktop head over to the Data Labels ‘tab’ in the formatting pane. You need to turn on the Customize series feature.

When the Customize series feature is enabled you are able to select which one of your lines you want to customize.

After selecting the which line you would like to customize will you be able to select one of the three options as indicated below.

The below graph has no formatting and it is quite hard to make out on the graph what values belong to what line.

 

Let’s customize the line graph so that the detailed labels for Sum of Sales are always above the line and the detailed labels for Sales Target are below the graph. We can now clearly make out which detailed labels belong to what line.

 

Key influencers visual improvements (preview)

Power BI keeps adding to its Machine Learning capabilities. This month only sees one small improvement to the functionality and further advancements to the formatting of the key influencers visual. The “explain by” bucket is now able to support binning of numerical columns.  The key influencers visual will in the background calculate how to bin the data in order to identify the most influential segments of your data. In the below visual we can see how the key influencers visual had binned the age of bike buyers. There is a 1.33 more likeliness of a person between the age of 38-47 to buy a bike. The visual will not bin a numeric column if it detects a strong linear relationship between the column and the target of the analysis. If this case is present the visual will instead show a scatter chart to show the correlation.

Formatting options

Power BI further released some new formatting features. The bubbles on the left and the drill visual on the right half’s colours can be updated. Here are the primary and secondary colours.

You can also control the drill visual’s secondary colour and reference line colour.

The key influencers visual can also now be used in the Power BI mobile app. The visual will be interactive, just like other visuals, when viewing it in any of the Power BI mobile apps.

Power BI Modeling Update

Disable auto-date tables for new reports

Power BI generates automatically date tables in the background if you load any date columns into Power BI. The date hierarchy that is visible when dates are loaded is an example thereof as well as the use of time intelligence functions. If your date tables are already in the correct format and you want to reduce the size of your Power BI file the ability exits to turn off the functionality of the auto-date table. In order to do this go to the options dialogue. Choose the Data load tab and turn off the “Auto date/time for new files” functionality.

Power BI Visualizations Update

We don’t usually do any summary of the customized Power BI custom visualizations from the Marketplace, however, this month sees 2 additions on the Marketplace that will add great value to your bar chart visualizations. We will give a quick overview of the Walkers Animated Pictogram visual and the Treemap Bar Chart. To see the full list of custom visualization updates, visit the Power BI page to find out more.

The Walkers Animated Pictogram allows you to create a bar graph that is animated through pictures. This allows for some fun and emotion behind your data sets and the way that you display your data.

The treemap bar chart visual use a combination of bar chart and a treemap to give a strong breakdown of your data, as you can see as in our example the sales by country as well as what category of products is driving the sales in each specific country. The visual also includes some strong customization features that are native to built-in Power BI visualizations.

Some key features of this visual include:

  • Switch between a bar chart and column chart
  • All categories can have total values and data labels
  • Tooltips with additional insights
  • Animations to examine the visual at the granular level
  • Cross-highlighting support for legend values, axis values, and the bricks
  • Support for bookmarks, report page tooltips, and drillthrough

That is it for this months Power BI Desktop Update. Make good use of all the new and updated functionalities, looking forward to next month bring the new updates and features that Power BI will have.